NIU announces partnership with Rockford Promise to offer full-tuition scholarships


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The Student Emergency Fund will remain open as long as funding is available.

By Bisola Bello, Reporter

DeKALB — Rockford Public School District 205 students will be eligible for full-tuition at NIU starting in Fall 2021 following an announcement made by NIU President Lisa Freeman and Rockford school officials.

The new partnership is sponsored by Rockford Promise, a non for profit organization that offers full tuition scholarships. The not-for-profit organization has raised over $1 million to support full-tuition scholarships for students. The benefits of such a program led to increased high school graduation, public school performance and economic incentives for the cities of Rockford and DeKalb, according to a City of Rockford Government Facebook post

Eligible students must live within Rockford city limits, attend an RPS high school for all four years and graduate with a cumulative 3.0 out of 4.0 GPA. Students who are currently enrolled in an RPS high school are still able to apply for scholarships. 

The deadline to apply for the upcoming fall semester is Feb. 1.

Once a student is enrolled at NIU, they must maintain 12 credit hours per semester and a 2.5 cumulative GPA. The scholarship lasts for 4 years or upon graduation. 

“We are thrilled to partner with Rockford to make an NIU education accessible to students,” Dr. Freeman said.

The proposed collaboration needs final approval from the governing boards at NIU, RPS 205, Rockford Promise and the City of Rockford, according to the Facebook post.

Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara announced that the city has also pledged a donation of $1.5 million for the scholarship initiative. 

“It is critical that we invest in our youth now to improve our community now and for many years to come,” McNamara said.